Three episodes of fly-on-the-wall documentary ‘Being: Liverpool’ have already hit our screens, and the nagging question remains as to what on earth to make of it all.
Everyone I’ve spoken to seems to have a different opinion on what they have seen so far. Some have described it as fascinating, others cringeworthy.
Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson agrees with the latter. The Match of the Day pundit wrote in his weekly column that the show would have left Liverpool legends Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan ‘turning in their graves’.
“What on earth is Brendan Rodgers doing in this programme Being: Liverpool?’, writes Lawrenson, who also slammed the club’s American owners.
“I’m sorry, I just think this show comes across as American schmalz. It’s totally ill-advised and some of the stuff that I have seen so far in the first three episodes is cringeworthy.
“I think everybody shares that point of view. The problem is, once you get American owners intent on doing it and intent on getting everyone involved it’s extremely difficult.”
Strong words perhaps, but does Lawrenson have a point?
The difficulty that I and others I have spoken to have with the show, is the uncertainty surrounding how much of it is staged, with Brendan Rodgers the prime suspect for over-doing things.
Rodgers is something of an ego-maniac, judging by the gigantic self portrait hanging in his hallway.
Incase you were wondering, it’s not a prop. This is the same man who had a cardboard cutout of himself in his office at Swansea, as we discovered last season on a behind the scenes look at the clubs training ground as a feature on Gillette Soccer Saturday.
He does have the look of a man enjoying his time in front of the camera, and has a superb selection of cliche’s ready to drop at will.
Within five minutes of the first episode, the Liverpool manager declared: “I wasn’t so much born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but a silver shovel,” in an attempt to explain he understands the value of working for everything you get.
“You educate people, you train dogs,” he says with a smug look on his face as he speaks of his ‘new age’ methods and attitudes to coaching.
“I always believe the player plus the environment equals the behaviour”, is Rodgers next slogan, taken straight out of Andre Villas-Boas’s coaching manual.
Does he actually speak like this to his players when the camera’s are not around? Fair play to him if that is the case, each to their own. But it’s extremely hard to fathom.
A problem for Liverpool fans is the fact that filming started the day Rodgers sat in the Anfield hot seat. As if the guy doesn’t have enough to contend with, he’s just taken charge of the most successful club in Britain and is tasked with reviving it’s fortunes. Now he has an American camera crew following his every move.
It is not the sort of thing you can imagine former managers Rafael Benitez or Kenny Dalglish being happy doing.Benitez was a maticulous no-nonsense coach who would not let anything stand in the way of his work.
Dalglish struggled enough being interviewed by Geoff Shreeves.
But Rodgers seems to be enjoying himself a little too much and seems to be using it as an opportunity to show himself as the next Pep Guardiola or perhaps in his opinion, the next Jesus Christ.
When John W. Henry bought Liverpool, he spoke of wanting to return to doing things ‘The Liverpool Way’. It is my understanding the Liverpool way was doing things behind closed doors, with dignity and grace.
It is hard to see where a documentary that goes as far as showing the clubs managing director Ian Ayre, making his way home after concluding a £15million transfer deal on a motorbike that screams midlife crisis, is in keeping with such tradition?
The documentary does make fascinating viewing, and gives an insight into the world of professional football not seen before. There are those who feel some things should be kept sacred, and the documentary broadcasts things that should not be seen, such as pre match team talks and the completion of transfer deals.
However times are changing, with the introduction of social media and rich owners pumping billions of pounds into clubs you feel more clubs may follow suit in the future. We live in a time where what the clubs owners says goes.
But first and foremost, Liverpool fans want to see their team doing well on the pitch – something that hasn’t been the case for the past three seasons now – and this season hasn’t started well in terms of results.
Rodgers has to concentrate on getting results first and foremost before dropping endless cliche’s to an American camera crew.
Everything in football is dictated by results. If Liverpool were top of the table, there would no doubt be much more positive feeling about the documentary, rather than those saying it is nothing more than an attempt from the American owners to promote Liverpool in a glossy magazine style to a worldwide audience.
It’s a good money making move from John W.Henry and his team. But you feel Liverpool fans would be more positive about the idea if just an extra £1million made from the ‘Being’ franchise was invested in Clint Dempesy on deadline day, and the club had that extra striker to help them compete on the pitch. That is what will always be the most important thing for Liverpool fans.
What have you made of ‘Being: Liverpool’ so far? Fascinating or cringeworthy? Follow me on Twitter @LukeGreenwood89 and let me know your thoughts.